October 29, 2011

Sixteen more babies die in WB govt hospitals; toll 29

The Asian Age, 28 Oct, 2011

Four more babies died at Kolkata's B.C. Roy Children's Hospital, which has witnessed a series of crib deaths, besides 12 newborns in the Burdwan Medical College, taking the death toll in two government hospitals in West Bengal to 29 today.

Though the crib deaths have raised a question mark on the standard of medical care in paediatric hospitals in the state, hospital authorities claimed that it was 'not unusual'.

Twelve babies have died at the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital in Burdwan district and four at the B.C. Roy Children's Hospital here since yesterday, authorities said today.

"The one-to-three days old babies were underweight and suffering from jaundice, encephalitis and septicemia," Burdwan Medical College and Hospital Deputy Superintendent Tapas Kumar Ghosh said.

Doctors did their best to save the lives of the babies, but all were born with critical complaints at the hospital where 160 infants were being treated against its capacity of 60 beds, he said.

In Kolkata, at the B.C. Roy Children's Hospital, another four babies died taking up the toll there to 17 in the last three days.

"Four babies, referred to us in a critical condition, died in the hospital in the last 24 hours," its superintendent D Pal said.

There was 'nothing abnormal or unusual' in the death of babies, mostly below one month, Pal said, as they were admitted in an extremely critical condition.

Pal said on an average, five infant deaths occurred in the hospital of the daily admission of nearly 300, mostly referred by district hospitals.

Stating that the hospital was overburdened with patients referred from district hospitals, Pal maintained that the best of care was given to the babies admitted.

But The health department yesterday gave a clean chit to the B.C. Roy Children's Hospital after an internal inquiry.

Director of Medical Education Sushanta Banerjee said no lapse was found in the treatment of the babies, who were brought in a moribund state.

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